Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Support the Troops" decals shouldn't have been on Toronto city trucks in the first place

Of course it's "politically incorrect" to remove those damned decals, but what were they doing on those Toronto fire trucks and ambulances anyways?

Isn't support for our troops a given? Aren't we ALL supportive of our troops? And what about our policemen, aren't we ALL supportive of them too? Some policemen get killed in action, dying for their country. Are their lives worth less than those of our soldiers?

And what about health workers? Aren't they keeping our country healthy? Some of them die while doing their job. Are their lives worth less than those of our soldiers?

And what about teachers, aren't they educating our Canadian youth and therefore making a large contribution to our country? Even some teachers die on their job. Are their lives worth less than those of our soldiers?

We ALL love Canada. We ALL support our troops. If any individual feels the need to express that he's more supportive of one group of Canadians over another with a decal, then sure, go ahead, stick that decal on your car. But does the city really need to put our troops at the top of the "we support" list?

I don't think so. Everybody (or at least most of us) works on a better Canada, and we all sacrifice. Yes, Toronto will keep their decals, but let's hope we learned something from it. Let' s keep things fair and from now on keep ALL decals off our publicly funded institutions. No more problems, guaranteed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chinese CO2 output exceeded US emissions in 2006

Radio Netherlands
The Netherlands' Environmental Assessment Bureau, MNP, says that China's carbon dioxide emissions exceeded those of the United States last year. It is the first time that China's emissions have surpassed those of the US. According to MNP figures, Chinese emissions rose by nine percent in 2006. US emissions rose by 1.4 percent over the same period. The Dutch research agency says the European Union managed to keep its 2006 emissions more or less level with 2005.

- Radio Netherlands
- Guardian: China overtakes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Harper Certainly Is Ordinary; My Blahg

My Blahg, by Robert McClelland

So Stephen Taylor is once again pushing the Harper is just an ordinary guy shtick. Well, here are some synomyms and words related to ordinary.


I fail to see why this has ruffled the feathers of some of the Libloggers. Harper is nothing if not ordinary.

What should be of greater concern is the rush to sell Canadians on the idea that ordinary is now the best they can hope to expect from their leaders.

Frankly I don’t want the leaders of my nation to be ordinary. Tommy Douglas wasn’t ordinary, he was a man of great vision. Pierre Trudeau wasn’t ordinary, he was a man who saw a better Canada and worked to make it a reality. Had these leaders and others like them settled for nothing more than ordinary, Canada wouldn’t be the great nation it is today.

So if Harper wants to be an ordinary guy then he should do us all a favour and get an ordinary job. Because Canadians deserve a person who aspires to more than mediocrity as their Prime Minister.


- My Blahg: Harper Certainly Is Ordinary
- ordinary:
  1. Commonly encountered; usual. See synonyms at common.
    1. Of no exceptional ability, degree, or quality; average.
    2. Of inferior quality; second-rate.
  2. Having immediate rather than delegated jurisdiction, as a judge.
  3. Mathematics. Designating a differential equation containing no more than one independent variable.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Something's fishy about Oilweek's "Some facts about the Atlantic accords"

There's something fishy about Oilweek's latest article "Some facts about the Atlantic accords".

Here's the full article, the comments are mine :)

Some facts about the Atlantic accords: (Offshore-Dispute-Quic)
Original Deals: The federal government first signed the original Atlantic accords with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in 1985 and 1986, respectively. The accords spell out how Ottawa and the two provinces share revenue from the offshore energy sector.
Facts are good.
Updates: The agreements were updated in 2005 to ensure the provinces become the “primary beneficiaries‘‘ of their offshore oil and gas industries.

New protection: The new deals gave each province 100 per cent protection from clawbacks of equalization payments.
New deals sound good too.
Result: That means the provinces wouldn't be penalized with smaller equalization payments as their offshore revenue grew.
These results are clear too! But then this:
Budget changes: Both provinces now say the March 19 federal budget guts the two accords by reviving the equalization clawback and introducing a cap on equalization payments _ changes that could cost both provinces billions of dollars.
Indeed, and what Both provinces say is not only what they say, it's a.k.a. the truth. Why not putting it this way? Reviving the equalization clawback and introducing a cap on equalization payments could cost both provinces billions of dollars. So much for sticking to the facts. But read on, more deliberate ambiguity ahead.
Ottawa‘s position: The federal government argues that the revamped accords remain in place and both provinces have the option of sticking with them.
The question of course is; Is this argument actually valid? Little do we find out about this from Oilweek's "facts about the Atlantic accords". Somehow that doesn't surprise me though. There's something fishy about Oilweek. More to unfold:
Provincial anger: Both provinces say Prime Minister Stephen Harper had promised a better equalization deal (italics mine), so offering the status quo (italics mine) amounts to a broken promise.
What does Oilweek mean with a "better equalization deal"? Isn't the 2005 "the" deal that was being promised in the first place? Isn't Oilweek a bit disingenuous by putting it this way?

What does Oilweek mean with "offering the status quo"? Isn't the 2005 the current status quo? Isn't Oilweek a bit disingenuous by putting it this way?

As far as Oilweek is concerned, only some facts seem to matter, others don't. Now I realize why the article is called "Some facts about the Atlantic Accords".

But why is the magazine called Oilweek?

- Wikipedia: 2005 federal budget
- Wikipedia: Atlantic Accords (stub)
- Wikipedia: Corporate Propaganda

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Canadian journalism sucks or: WTF is with CanWest?

I'm getting so tired of the laziness of the mainstream media (MSM) in Canada. The following article is a mere example, but it show quite well the petty level of Canadian journalism today:

"[Stronach] echoed the disappointment voiced Friday by rock star Bono with the $60-billion G8 commitment to fight disease in Africa, saying it's just a reannouncement of prior commitments."
Well, so what is it? Is what Stronach says true, or not true? Why can't CanWest check this for me? Is it too hard for a journalist to find out if what's being said is actually the truth? In case it's true, the above could have read:
"[Stronach] echoed the disappointment voiced Friday by rock star Bono, because the $60-billion G8 commitment to fight disease in Africa was only a reannouncement of prior commitments.
MSM is so tiring....

Update: Some answers here
"I've never claimed it was new money," [Harper] said. "These are existing commitments. They were commitments for a 10-year period. We're not here to rewrite deals every single year."
- Wiktionary: journalism
  1. The activity or profession of being a journalist.
  2. The aggregating, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles for widespread distribution, typically in periodical print publications and broadcast news media, for the purpose of informing the audience.
  3. The style of writing characteristic of material in periodical print publications and broadcast news media, consisting of direct presentation of facts or events with an attempt to minimize analysis or interpretation.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bono snubs Harper!

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany — Bono says he likes Prime Minister Stephen Harper but meeting celebrities isn’t his thing.

Bono's office did not return a phone call from Steve this week when the politician requested a meeting to discuss aid for Africa at the G8 summit in Germany.

“Meeting celebrities isn’t kind of my schtick”, Bono explained. He told a news conference in Heiligendamm, site of the G8 summit in Germany, that his focus is on public policy, “not to meet celebrities.”

- Edmonton Sun: Harper snubs Bono
- Wiktionary: celebrity: 1. a person who has a high degree of recognition by the general population; fame

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

CPAC got the facts "wrong" about MacKay

After this we can't seriously address Peter with "Honourable Peter MacKay" anymore, or can we?

- Wiktionary: honorable; worthy of respect
- CTV: Tories mocked for firing MP over budget vote

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Daryl Hannah contributes new momentum to lawsuit against oil giant Chevron

The Independent, today:

Daryl Hannah, the actress turned environmentalist, is adding her voice to a campaign demanding redress for the inhabitants of Ecuador's Amazon region, which has been blighted by 30 years of oil exploration by Texaco.

Democracy Now!, guest John Perkins:

So the lawsuit today that’s being brought by a New York lawyer and some Ecuadorian lawyers -- Steve Donziger here in New York -- is for $6 billion, the largest environmental lawsuit in the history of the world, in the name of 30,000 Ecuadorian people against Texaco, which is now owned by Chevron, for dumping over eighteen billion gallons of toxic waste into the Ecuadorian rainforest. That’s thirty times more than the Exxon Valdez. And dozens and dozens of people have died and are continuing to die of cancer and other pollution-related diseases in this area of the Amazon. So all this oil has come out of this area, and it’s the poorest area of one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere. And the irony of that is just so amazing.
Chevron insists they have done no wrong, and that one of the reasons that lawsuits like these come up, is because of lawyers who smell easy money. Perkins has a different view:
But what I think -- one of the really significant things about this, Amy, is that this law firm has taken this on, not pro bono, but they expect if they win the case, which they expect to do, to make a lot of money off of it, which is a philosophical decision. It isn’t because they wanted to get rich off this. It’s because they want to encourage other law firms to do similar things in Nigeria and in Indonesia and in Bolivia, in Venezuela and many other places. So they want to see a business grow out of this, of law firms going in and defending poor people, knowing that they can get a payoff from the big companies who have acted so terribly, terribly, terribly irresponsibly in the past.

Interview with Perkins starts at 12:25

- The Independent: Daryl Hannah joins Amazon protesters taking on oil giant
- Democracy Now!: John Perkins on "The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption"
- Chevron Toxico: Texaco in Ecuador
- Factsheet (pdf): Chevron’s Dirty Business In Ecuador
- CBC: The Oil Curse (2004): Texaco (now Chevron) in Ecuador
- Democracy Now! (1998): Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship: A One Hour Documentary. The award winning audio documentary (1998) can be found here (realplayer) - don't miss the revelation starting at 20:55
- ChevronToxico: Clean Up Ecuador Campaign
- Wikipedia: Chevron
- Wikipedia: "Drilling and Killing"

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Man wakes up after 19 years in coma in politically altered Poland

The Associated Press
Published: June 3, 2007

WARSAW, Poland: A Polish railway worker who woke up after 19 years in a coma is learning to live and to understand a politically altered Poland, Polish media reported.


Despite doctors' advice that he would not live, his wife Gertruda never gave up hope and took care of him at home.


In 1988, when Poland was still run by a communist government, Grzewski sustained head injuries as he was attaching two train carriages together. He fell into a coma. Doctors also found cancer in his brain and said he would not live, according to local daily Gazeta Dzialdowska, which broke the news of his recovery.


Last year, she noticed that he was trying to speak, Gazeta said. He returned to the hospital and came out of the coma some two months ago.


He said Grzewski was shocked to see the streets and shops in the town. "He remembered shelves filled with mustard and vinegar only" under communism, Pstragowski said.

Poland shed communism in 1989 and has developed democracy and a market economy.

"I am sure that without the dedication of his wife, the patient would not have reached us in the (good) shape that he did," Pstragowski said.

- International Tribune

Saturday, June 02, 2007

(audio) Why today's mainstream newspapers print an increasing amount of junk: Nancy Cleeland

From CounterSpin

A dispiriting sign of the times—yet another veteran, award-winning journalist leaving the field. Nancy Cleeland was a labour reporter (you've heard of that) at the Los Angeles Times; she wrote on a range of issues affecting working class people, even shared in a Pulitzer for a series on Wal-Mart. But, she says, the paper today just doesn't seem to care about stories about working people or the poor—no matter how critical those stories are. We'll hear from Nancy Cleeland.

Listen and Learn!

The interview with Nancy starts at 10:25.

- Fair - CounterSpin: Nancy Cleeland on leaving the L.A. Times
- Huffington Post: Nancy Cleeland Why I'm Leaving The L.A. Times
- Fair: Counterspin
- Wikipedia: CounterSpin